Ragnarok will be preceded by the Fimbulwinter, the winter of winters. Three successive winters will follow each other with no summer in between. As a result, conflicts and feuds will break out, and all morality will disappear.
The wolf Skoll and his brother Hati will finally devour Sol and her brother Mani respectively, after a perpetual chase. The stars will vanish from the sky, plunging the earth into darkness.
The earth will shudder, so violently that trees will be uprooted, and mountains will fall, and every bond and fetter will snap and sever, freeing Loki and his son Fenrir. This terrible wolf's slavering mouth will gape wide open, so wide that his lower jaw scrapes against the ground and his upper jaw presses against the sky. He will gape even more widely if there is room. Flames will dance in his eye and leap from his nostrils.
Eggther, watchman of the Jotuns, will sit on his grave mound and strum his harp, smiling grimly. The red cock Fjalar will crow to the giants and the golden cock Gullinkambi will crow to the gods. A third cock2, rust red, will raise the dead in Hel.
Jörmungandr, the Midgard serpent, will rise from the deep ocean bed to proceed towards the land, twisting and writhing in fury on his way, causing the seas to rear up and lash against the land. With every breath, the serpent will spew venom, staining the earth and the sky in poison.
From the east, the army of Jotuns, led by Hrym, will leave their home in Jotunheim and sail the grisly ship Naglfar (made from the nails of dead men), which will be set free by the tsunami and flooding, towards the battlefield of Vigrid.
From the north, a second ship, will set sail towards Vigrid, with Loki, now unbound, as the helmsman, and the ghastly inhabitants of Hel as the deadweight.
The world will be in uproar, the air will quake with booms, blares and echoes. Amid this turmoil, the fire giants of Muspelheim, led by Surt, will advance from the south and tear apart the sky itself as they too, close in on Vigrid, leaving everything in their path going up in flames. As they ride over Bifröst, the rainbow bridge will crack and break behind them. Garm, the hellhound bound in front of Gnipahellir, will also get free. He will join the fire giants in their way towards Vigrid.
So all the Jotuns and all the inmates of Hel, Fenrir, Jörmungand, Garm, Surt and the blazing sons of Muspelheim, will gather on Vigrid. They will all but fill that plain that stretches one hundred and twenty leagues in every direction.
Meanwhile, Heimdall, being the first of the gods to see the enemies approaching, will blow his Giallar horn, sounding such a blast that it will be heard throughout the nine worlds. All the Gods will wake and at once meet in council. Then Odin will mount Sleipnir and gallop to Mimir's spring and consult Mimir on his own and his people's behalf.
Then, Yggdrasil, the world ash, will shake from root to summit. Everything in earth and heaven and Hel will quiver. All Æsir and Einherjar will don their battle dresses. This vast host (432,000 Einherjar - 800 from each of Valhalla's 540 gates) will march towards Vigrid and Odin will ride at their head, wearing a golden helmet and a shining corselet, brandishing Gungnir.
Odin will make straight for Fenrir; and Thor, right beside him, will be unable to help because Jörmungand, his old enemy, will at once attack him. Freyr will fight the fire giant Surt, but will become the first of all gods to lose as he has given his own good sword to his servant Skirnir. It will still be a long struggle though, before Freyr will succumb. Tyr will manage to kill Garm, but will be so severely wounded that he will only survive until after the world is destroyed in fire. Heimdall will encounter Loki, and neither survive the evenly-matched encounter. Thor will kill Jörmungandr with his hammer Mjollnir, but only be able to stagger back nine steps before falling dead himself, poisoned by the venom that Jörmungandr spews over him. Odin will fight with his mighty spear Gungnir against Fenrir but will finally be eaten by the wolf after a long battle. To avenge his father, Vidar will immediately come forward and place one foot on the wolf's lower jaw. On this foot he will be wearing the shoe which he has been making since the beginning of time; it consists of the strips of leather which men pare off at the toes and heels of their shoes. With one hand he will grasp the wolf's upper jaw and tear its throat asunder, killing it at last.
Then, Surt will burn the whole world with fire. Death will come to all manner of things. The sun will go black and the stars will be cast down from the heavens. Fumes will reek and flames will burst, scorching the sky with fire. The earth will sink into the sea.
After the destruction, a new earth will arise out of the sea, green and fair. Barley will ripen in fields that were never sown. The meadow Idavoll, in the now-destroyed Asgard, will have been spared. The sun will reappear as Sol, before being swallowed by Skoll, gave birth to a daughter as fair as she herself. This maiden daughter will pursue her mother's road in the new sky.
A few gods will survive the ordeal: Odin's brother Vili, Odin's sons Vidar and Vali, Thor's sons Modi and Magni, who will inherit their father's magic hammer Mjollnir, and Hœnir, who will hold the wand and foretell what is to come. Baldr and his brother Höðr, who dies prior to Ragnarok, will come up from Hell and dwell in Odin's former hall, Valhalla, in the heavens. Meeting at Idavoll, these gods will sit down together, discuss their hidden lore, and talk over many things that had happened, including the evil of Jörmungandr and Fenrir. In the waving grass, they will find the golden chessboards that the Æsir used to own, and gaze at them in wonder. (None of the goddesses were mentioned in various accounts of the aftermath of Ragnarok, but there are assumptions that Frigg, Freya and the other goddesses had survived.)
Two humans will also escape the destruction of the world by hiding themselves deep within Yggdrasil—some say Hodmimir's Wood— where Surt's sword cannot destroy. They will be called Lif and Lifthrasir. Emerging from their shelter, they will live on morning dew and will repopulate the human world. They will worship their new pantheon of gods, led by Baldr.
There will still be many halls to house the souls of the dead. According to the 'Prose Edda', another heaven exists south of and above Asgard, called Andlang, and a third heaven further above that, called Vidblain; and these places will offer protection while Surt's fire burns the world. According to both 'Eddas', after Ragnarok, the best place of all will be Gimli, a building fairer than the sun, roofed with gold, in the heaven. There, the gods will live at peace with themselves and each other. There will be Brimir, a hall on Okolnir ("never cold"), where plenty of good drink will be served. And there will be Sindri, an excellent hall made wholly of red gold, on Nidafjoll ("dark mountains"). The souls of the good and virtuous will live in these halls.
The 'Prose Edda' also mentions another hall called Nastrond ("corpse strand"). That place in the underworld will be as vile as it is vast: no sunlight will reach it; all its doors will face north; its walls and roof will be made of wattled snakes, with their heads facing inward, spewing so much poison that it runs in rivers in the hall. Here, oath breakers, murderers, and philanderers will wade through those rivers forever.
And, in the worst place of all, Hvergelmir, Nidhogg, also a survivor of Ragnarok, will bedevil the bodies of the dead, sucking blood from them.
After all, in this new world, wickedness and misery no longer exist and gods and men will live together in peace and harmony. The descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir will inhabit Midgard.
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